VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of teachings on faith by examining how it is “reasonable and not in conflict with science.”
People from all over the world gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall on Nov. 21 to hear the Pope’s catechesis, which he delivers every Wednesday.
“The Catholic faith is reasonable and also nurtures trust in human reason,” he told the audience of thousands. “It’s crucial for people to open up to faith and know God and his plan of salvation in Jesus Christ.”
Pope Benedict explained that there is a fruitful link between understanding and believing, which is rooted in the harmonious relationship between science and faith. Scientific research, he added, leads to knowledge of the truth about man and the cosmos.
“Also important are investigations to discover the secrets of our planet and the universe, with the knowledge that man is the crown of creation, not to exploit it foolishly, but to keep it and make it habitable,” he said.
“Faith,” the Pope reflected, “enables an authentic knowledge of God that involves the whole person: It is a knowledge that gives a new taste to life, a joyful way of being in the world. It’s expressed in the gift of self for others in fraternity that makes solidarity.”
Turning to the love of God, Pope Benedict said that it allows us to know the whole of reality, beyond the narrow perspectives of individualism and subjectivism that disorientate consciences.
“God isn’t absurd; if anything, he is a mystery. The mystery isn’t irrational, but an overabundance of a sense of meaning and truth,” he said.
The Pope compared the experience to a person looking directly at the sun and seeing only darkness.
“But who would say that the sun isn’t bright, when it’s the source of light? Faith allows us to look at the ‘sun,’ that is God, because it welcomes his revelation in history.”
“At the same time, God’s grace illumines reason and opens new, immeasurable and infinite horizons.”
After giving his catechesis, the Pope greeted the thousands of participants in several languages. He also offered a “cordial greeting” to the participants of the Catholic and Muslim cooperation conference, and the English and Welsh Catholic charity CAFOD in gratitude for 50 years of work.